Whole Foods CEO predicts an explosive change in how Americans eat

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Whole Foods appears to be preparing for a future where fewer people cook their own meals.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb said the chain expects an "explosion" in prepared foods targeting non-cooks.

"You're going to see an explosion in food service and prepared foods and beverages, an explosion of choices for those who don't want to cook," Robb said. "And they'll be able to get it on-demand. Ultimately [customers] are looking to the food store not just for food that they can cook but for food they can eat right now."

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Whole Foods CEO predicts an explosive change in how Americans eat
Pedestrians pass in front of a Whole Foods Market store in Union Square, Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in New York. New York City's consumer chief said Wednesday that Whole Foods supermarkets have been routinely overcharging customers by overstating the weight of prepackaged meat, dairy and baked goods. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Pedestrians and motorists pass in front of a Whole Foods Market store in Union Square, Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in New York. New York City's consumer chief said Wednesday that Whole Foods supermarkets have been routinely overcharging customers by overstating the weight of prepackaged meat, dairy and baked goods. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Shoppers come and go from a Whole Foods Market store in Union Square, Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in New York. New York City's consumer chief said Wednesday that Whole Foods supermarkets have been routinely overcharging customers by overstating the weight of prepackaged meat, dairy and baked goods. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 17, 2014, a cash register terminal promotes usage of the new Apple Pay mobile payment system at a Whole Foods store in Cupertino, Calif. The new system launches on Monday. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this Thursday, March 27, 2014 photo, a woman walks out of the Whole Foods Market in Woodmere Village, Ohio. Whole Foods reports quarterly financial results on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
In this March 27, 2014 photo, a woman shops at the Whole Foods Market in Woodmere Village, Ohio. Whole Foods reports quarterly financial results on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
FILE - In this March 25, 2014, file photo, shows a Whole Foods store in Philadelphia. Whole Foods reports quarterly earnings on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Pedestrians go past a car with a figurine of a soybean crossed with a fish on top in front of a Whole Foods Market in downtown Seattle, on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. The vehicle was promoting a Yes vote on Initiative 522, which would require the labeling of food that contains genetically modified ingredients. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
FILE - This July 29, 2013 file photo shows produce on a Whole Foods paper bag in Andover, Mass. Whole Foods Market Inc. said bad weather in 2014 has shoppers making fewer trips to its stores, hurting sales growth. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
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Robb made the remarks in response to a question about the future of supermarkets. In addition to the expansion of prepared foods, he said he also expects supermarkets to get smaller and offer more fresh produce and proteins over packaged goods.

Whole Foods already offers a wide array of prepared foods.

The chain is well known for its massive salad bars and hot food bars, which offer fresh vegetables, fruit, soups, various cooked proteins, and sides like rice and mashed potatoes.

Whole Foods also offers freshly prepared sandwiches, pizzas, sushi, and other options.

The company is planning to add even more options in the future.

Whole Foods recently took a minority stake in Los Angeles-based restaurant chain Mendocino Farms.

Mendocino is planning a massive expansion with the investment. In addition to opening new standalone restaurants, Mendocino will also open restaurants inside new and existing Whole Foods stores.

The restaurants will serve the sandwich chain's full menu and be wholly operated by Mendocino.

The menu includes items like "not so fried" chicken, spicy lemongrass steak banh mi, house smoked chicken and street corn torta, and prosciutto and free range chicken.

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